Wednesday, July 13, 2005

As usual, the current Harper's Magazine (July 2005) is chock full of goodies (Ken Silverstein's excellent The Great American Pork Barrel: Washington Streamlines the Means of Corruption nicely complements Elizabeth Drew's Selling Washington from the June 23 NYRB).

In particular I got a good laugh or two out of Mighty White of You: Racial Preferences Color America's Oldest Skulls and Bones by Jack Hitt. His reporting on a silly yet virulent form of Eurocentricism raging in the anthropological sciences reminded me of the great controversy at my grandmother's church when I was a young teen. Some upstart African/African American churches were claiming Jesus was a black man! Reverend Ron was particularly worked up at the idea that any group of people could be so stupid as to change the appearance of The Saviour and base it upon their own. Oh, his indignation at the very thought! Oh, the thundrous condemnations he rained down upon his humble lillywhite Gettysburg paritioners in that bleak brick church, once a Union hospital.

And behind him the entire time was an 8'X 10' painting not unlike this image:

Reverend Ron, you were right! It is stupid for a group of people to change the appearance of The Saviour to fit their own. I noted at age 13 how you and your ilk had turned him from a grungy Semitic hippie into a squeaky-clean fire-breathing vengeful honky.

Reverend Ron, BTW, went on a "mission" to China with all his church's resources (including thousands of my gullible grandparents' dollars) and never returned. He'd "found Jesus in prison," after all.